Say what? Wine & Lemon Meringue?

Pinot Gris, Wine 3 Comments

Summer sippers are bountiful in Oregon wine country, as we recently discovered at #WBC12, the Wine Bloggers Conference held this year in Portland. During last week’s heat wave, we were refreshed by crisp Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and several Rosés.

But tasting wine took on an entirely different experience at Noble Pig in Carlton. (Note: In the weeks ahead, I have several blog posts to write about this wonderful town in the Willamette Valley.)

Our smart and creative hostess Cathy Pollak, a winemaker and well-known food-and-wine blogger, poured a taste of her 2009 Pinot Gris Noble Pig. First, we swirled and sipped this soft, lush white wine with a creamy finish. Then came a surprise.

Cathy poured what seemed to be about a teaspoon of lemon olive oil into a paper cup, instructed us to toss it into our mouths (like a shot) and then have another sip of the Pinot Gris.

She said it would taste like lemon meringue pie.

Say what? Wine transforming to the taste of lemon meringue pie? Is this a good thing? It turns out the answer is a resounding yes!

It was absolutely delicious. So good, in fact, I bought a bottle of her Galantino Lemon Olive Oil, so Dave could experience this taste sensation at home. (He loves lemon meringue pie, but that’s another story.)

Cathy offered up many other unusual pairings, but that one was a standout to me. Be sure to read her food blog for more creative adventures. And yes, we recommend the wine too.

As mentioned, we will be writing several posts about our two days in Carlton, in addition to sharing our experiences at the Wine Bloggers Conference 2012. We hope you come back often to read them.

Cheers!

WBC Here I Come!

Events, Wine Comments Off

This weekend is the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, where I’ll be live tweeting. You can follow my tweets  @writeforwine Thursday night through Monday night, and you can follow the conference’s twitter stream #WBC12, highlighting the opinions of about 350 wine writers in attendance.

I’ll also be posting on the Write for Wine Facebook page, and hope you’ll stop by to “like” it!

This will be my second time at WBC – my inaugural attendance was at #WBC10 in Walla Walla, where I met fellow wine bloggers, writers and tweeters, many of whom became my good friends. One of the craziest and best events was “Live Wine Blogging,” described by conference organizers as “sort of like speed dating, matching wineries to bloggers in five-minute segments.”

At WBC10, the Live Wine Blogging hour did indeed speed by, as wine makers and winery marketing folks handed out tasting notes, poured and quickly described their wines, as we tweeted, spit and spilled our way through a number of offerings, ranging from boxes to $185 bottles, sometimes side-by-side.

This year, an action-packed weekend awaits us in the Portland area, which is extra special for me because it’s where I began writing about wine in 1997, when I managed content after launching KOIN-TV’s website.

In addition to Live Wine Blogging, activities include mystery bus trips to wine country — a visit to a vineyard and a winery, followed by dinner at a local restaurant or another winery. You don’t know where the buses are going until you get on one, hence the mystery.

And new this year at WBC is the “Night of Many Bottles” — an evening where everyone brings a bottle of their favorite wine to share with others. In past years, this has been done informally by friends who got together when the formal activities were done. This year, the conference organizers decided to make it part of the official weekend fun.

And no, the weekend is not only about drinking wine! There are plenty of opportunities to learn about grapes, terroir, wine making, writing and blogging, with keynote speeches, breakout sessions, blogger-to-blogger discussions, Ignite! wine groups and wine blog awards.

While the focus of the weekend will be on the fine wines of Oregon – and I can’t wait – there are also some other events dear to my heart:

  • A Washington wine event called One Night Stand, featuring magnums from top Washington producers (on Twitter, #WAOneNight)
  • An opportunity to taste new wines of Greece, just a month before I’ll be heading that way to another conference

I’m also really looking forward to a post-WBC tour to wine country in Carlton, Oregon, where a group of some of my favorite blogger friends will attend Carlton’s Walk in the Park, and stop by several wineries, including Ken Wright Cellars, which I’ve always wanted to visit.

Next year’s Wine Bloggers Conference is in Penticton, in my home province of British Columbia. So you can imagine how much I’m also looking forward to WBC13! But first, Portland – stay tuned!

Cheers!

 

If you love blends …

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Wine Comments Off

… like we love blends, then mark your calendar right now for the third annual – you guessed it – BLEND event on Sept. 16 at Seattle waterfront’s Bell Harbor Conference Center.

We have not missed this event ever, because Bordeaux blends have been some of our favorite wines for years. I was asked to be a judge at this year’s BLEND blind tasting, but it’s during the day when I work at my “day job,” unfortunately.

But thankfully we can attend the event, which not only showcases Washington’s hottest blends, but also enticing gourmet food samples from some award-winning hotel restaurants.

Specifically, BLEND features more than 40 Washington wineries, barrel blending stations and international tasting stations, in addition to a “Bubble Lounge” with champagne, sparkling wines and cider and oysters.

While both of our palates favor Bordeaux-style blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, others prefer southern Rhone-style blends of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre.

Some of our favorites are unique-to-Washington blends of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, such as William Church 2008 2 Spires and Gorman 2009 Evil Twin. Unfortunately, neither will be at this event, but some of our other favorites, such as DiStefano 2007 Sogno (Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) will be definite pours for us.

Some white blends – perfect summer sippers — will also be available, such as the award-winning Shepherd’s Mark southern Rhone blend (Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne) from Alexandria Nicole Cellar and Optu White Bordeaux blend (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion) from Fidelitas.

For a full list of wineries pouring at BLEND, in addition to tickets, visit the BLEND website. Net proceeds from the $49-per-person admission will benefit the Washington Wine Industry Foundation.

We hope to see you there!

Cheers!

A New Fave Stop in Woodinville: Obelisco Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington wineries, Wine, Woodinville 2 Comments

We have several favorite stops when we go wine tasting in Woodinville – the newest is Obelisco Estate, which meets our personal criteria for incredible wine and great people.

Let’s start with the wine.

Obelisco’s Electrum Cabernet Sauvignon wins Double Gold awards every year and constantly sells out. Just a wee taste of the 09 vintage more than demonstrates why. This deep purple, complex wine delights with layers of pleasing aromas and robust, rich — no make that luxe — flavors. Electrum showcases Red Mountain Cabernet to the max.

Red Mountain is the location of Obelisco Estate Vineyard, next to Hedges, and now in its fourth year — 30 sun-bathed acres owned by Doug Long, a Napa Valley veteran, who is as friendly as he is experienced in the wine industry. (The 1997 vintage from his David Arthur winery in Napa was awarded 99 points by Wine Spectator.)

We first met Doug in April at a Washington state wine event in the other Washington, D.C. But we first tasted the 07 Electrum, its first vintage, a couple of years earlier.

Winemakers Pete Hedges and Sara Goedhart’s love of the grape is evident in every glass of Obelisco wine that we’ve tasted. (And Dave always says he’s never met a grape from Red Mountain that he didn’t like.)

Last weekend we paired Obelisco 09 Cabernet Sauvignon with marinated flat iron steaks on the grill, and wow, it was a heavenly combination. Lush and lively, this is one Cabernet that we will be revisiting over and over again — which means Doug can expect to see us again soon at his tasting room in the Woodinville Wine Warehouse.

The Obelisco tasting room was recently renovated, by the way, and well worth a stop to admire the non-warehouse look of rich wood and intricate carpets. It would be a great place to have a party too!

Cheers!